Leena Bakes: Mini Pineapple Upside Down Cakes with Pickled Cherries for Fathers Day

By on Jun 14, 2010 in Cakes, Leena Bakes | 5 comments

Share On GoogleShare On FacebookShare On Twitter
My mini pineapple upside down cake with pickled cherries for Dad.

Growing up, pineapple upside down cake was my mother’s specialty. Friends asked for it for their birthdays, it appeared at special family occasions, and showed up to at least one yearly bbq, if not more. Suffice it say the pineapple upside down cake was a staple fixture in my childhood.

So when it came to developing a great dessert in honor of my father, to be honest, it was the first dessert I could think of. I wanted to  make it a bit more grown up by creating individual versions (and upping the pineapple to cake ratio) and substituting tangy pickled cherries for the traditional sweet maraschino cherries.

The history of pineapple upside down cakes in the U.S. is pretty interesting in that it all started with a recipe contest. Canned pineapple was introduced to the country in 1903 , and in 1925, Dole Foods (then Hawaiian Pineapple Company) introduced an ad campaign that featured canned pineapple recipes in popular woman’s magazines, turning this once strange and exotic fruit into a pantry staple. This campaign also showcased a recipe contest that received over 60,000 entries, 2,500 of which were for pineapple upside down cake.

Melting the butter, then melting the sugar into the butter.

The winning recipe was for pineapple upside down cake, and it featured a method commonly used in Southern dessert recipes, where butter and sugar are melted into the pan, and then topped with fruit and batter before being baked. Alton Brown thinks this method stemmed from pan-baked corn bread recipes that called for melting butter in a heated skillet before pouring in the batter.

I decided to melt the butter and sugar in a pan and pour it into the baking tins, just because they were so tiny, I didn’t really want to heat them up on the stove. The next step was layering the melted mixture into pans, then topping with a pineapple slice and a pickled cherry.

Creating the topping for my pineapple upside down cake

The batter goes together pretty simply in a basic muffin mixing method, meaning you mix the dry together, the wet together, then the wet and dry together only until the batter barely comes together. Too much stirring will equal a tough cake. I poured it on top of the filled tart pans, just below the top of the pans.

The cakes, pre-baking.
The finished pineapple upside down cakes!

The cakes took around 25 minutes to bake. Some of the caramel did spill out of the pans, since they were tart pans with removable bottoms, but it did not hurt the end product one bit. Just be sure to let the cakes cool a bit before turning them over, or you will burn yourself.

Mini pineapple upside down cake porn #1. Notice how perfectly round and scalloped it is. Isn’t it cute?
Mini pineapple upside down cake porn #2. I was really impressed with how far down the caramel got into the cake, considering some had leaked out in the pan.

Recipe: Mini Grown Up Pineapple Upside Down Cakes

Summary: This recipe was inspired by an Alton Brown recipe


  • 2/3 stick butter
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 6 slices of canned pineapple in heavy syrup
  • 6 pickled cherries+
  • 2 tablespoons of pineapple juice
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 2/3 teaspoon baking powder
  • sprinkle of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3.5 tablespoons of pineapple juice
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Set 6 mini tart pans on a half sheet pan. Take a cast iron skillet and melt the butter over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and stir until melted, which may take a few minutes.
  3. Pour the caramel equally into the 6 mini tart pans. Top each pan with one slice of pineapple and one pickled cherry in the center.
  4. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk together the eggs and sugar, then add in the pineapple juice. Stir in the flour mixture until it is just combined, but not smooth.
  5. Pour the batter equally over the 6 mini tart pans. Careful not to let the batter go over the sides of the tart.
  6. Bake tarts at 350 F for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown on top and a tooth pick inserted comes out clean. Let cool 15-20 minutes before placing a plate on top of one of the tart pans and flipping it upside down to reveal the cake. Do this part slowly and with plenty of towels around you.
  7. Eat the cake and store leftovers in an airtight container at room temp for up to 5 days.

Quick Notes

Makes 6 mini cakes.

Microformatting by hRecipe.

My finished mini pineapple upside down cake with pickled cherries. Happy fathers day, Dad!


Related Posts with Thumbnails


    • LeenaEats

      24 Oct ’11

      Thanks for stopping by, pineapple chick!

  1. mermaidstar

    21 Oct ’11

    Post a Reply

    porn 1 and porn 2?  awkward, especially since it is from daughter to father

    stable fixture?  the word is staple

    otherwise this is perfect and wonderful:  thank you

    • LeenaEats

      24 Oct ’11

      Dear mermaidstar,

      Thanks for stopping by with your ever so helpful and positive comments. Do you ever read food blogs? I’m guessing not, otherwise you would know that food porn has NOTHING TO DO WITH SEX, it has to do with an obsession of looking at photos of food because you like to eat. 

      And thanks for the spelling correction—I personally have NEVER read a food blog with a single grammatical error in it, not even really popular ones, and it is SO embarrassing. I’ll be sure to fix it right away.

      After all that error in my post, you still find it perfect and wonderful? Oh mermaidstar–I am not worthy of your compliments.  

  2. Monu Teena

    15 Nov ’13

    Post a Reply

    very nice i really like your recipe.. i have tried the same recipe on children’s day in a different way must visit mine Pineapple upside down cake mini.. Do feedback me what i have to do to make my blog or recipe better.. it would be so nice of You! must visit my place when time permits 🙂

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read previous post:
Gastro Friday: Defining Candy

I recently read this great Salon article/ interview about defining what candy means in the U.S. It started off discussing...